Become a High School Graduate in Missouri: Diploma Information

Jun 12, 2018

Under the direction of the Missouri Revised Statutes, local boards of education may allow adults who have not previously earned a high school diploma to earn a local district high school diploma. Read on to learn more about how to earn a diploma in Missouri.

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Diploma Information for Adult High School Students in Missouri

In Missouri adult high school programs, a student's previous high school work and credits will be evaluated. Previous work will also be used to determine the weak areas in student's skills and abilities, which enables them to be placed in the proper courses within the adult high school diploma program.

Entrance Requirements

The Missouri Option program is available for students aged 17-20 who don't have the required credits to receive their high school diploma. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students must be at least 17 years old to enroll in an Adult Education and Literacy Program (AEL). Students who are 16 years of age may be eligible, so long as they're not currently enrolled in secondary school and have sixteen hours of credit toward high school graduation. In order to be eligible for the HiSET exam, students must be a resident of Missouri.

Earning Credits

Courses in an adult program may be more flexible than those offered in a traditional high school. As long as courses meet the educational needs of students, they are considered appropriate for an adult high school program. Credits may be granted if students show the same level of competency that would be expected of current high school students. Subjects covered in adult high school coursework may include reading, writing, math, problem-solving skills, and competency in the English language. Any previously earned credits from grade nine and above may be applied toward meeting the credit requirements for an adult high school diploma.


Local Education Agencies (LEA) that have approved the Missouri Option program will provide high school diplomas to students who are considered full-time students and have completed HiSET exams that are distributed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Requirements include a minimum of fifteen hours of weekly instruction in addition to career education, work experience or other elective classes. Additional requirements might be necessary, such as a half unit in health and personal finance and a course in government.

In order to pass the HiSET, students must score at least an 8 out of 20 on each subtest, a 2 out of 6 on the essay, and a total score of all five subtests of 45 out of 100.

Why Get a High School Diploma in Missouri?

The major goal of the state's Elementary & Secondary Education department is to encourage more adults to gain basic employment skills. This can be achieved with a high school diploma or its equivalent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), 39% of jobs in the country required a high school diploma or its equivalent.

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